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You’ve no doubt heard blueberries come with a whole host of health benefits. Studies have shown that increased consumption may reduce the risks of diabetes and heart disease while simultaneously promoting healthy skin and hair.
The magic of freezing
What is even more intriguing is that recent research has shown that freezing your blueberries can unlock even more of the nutritional value. The reason for this is freezing blueberries forms ice crystals that disrupt the structure of the blueberry and make the antioxidants found in them more accessible.
This is great news for those of you who already purchase this super food several pounds at a time. Not only are you getting the great taste and nutritional value of fresh berries, but it is possible that you are unlocking a hidden potential when freezing them.
Of course, when you do finally decide to freeze these delicious fruits, you want to make you do it the correct way, otherwise you will end up with bland, uninspiring, soft and entirely unappetizing fruit that you will quickly throw in the trash.
What are the proper steps to take when freezing blueberries?
The steps are simple:
- Dry your blueberries (make sure the berries are completely dry)
- Place them on a baking sheet (Amazon link) (make sure that none are on top of each other
- Place in smaller bags or containers from Amazon for storing in the freezer.
Step #2 is vert important. Make extra sure that you do not freeze them on top of one another.
Drying the berries is also crucial. The reason you want to dry the berries is that if they are wet, then they will become soft or soggy by the time they finally freeze.
Placing them on a baking sheet in a single layer allows each berry to freeze individually. This step is important because if they freeze in clumps, then you end up with a pile of mushy fruit once they thaw.
Tips for freezing berries
After you freeze blueberries. place them inside of an air tight container. Some devices remove all of the air from freezer bags and seal them for you, creating a vacuum, so your berries last longer and don’t get freezer burn.
I like this vacuum sealer from Amazon for freezing berries
One great way to sweeten your berries is to sprinkle a little bit of sugar on them before freezing them. This adds some additional sugary goodness to your berries and is great for putting in grits or oatmeal.
When pulling them out of the freezer, allow for about an hour of defrosting time. When defrosting, place them in a bowl so you can catch the juices. Don’t throw away the juice! It is a great addition to pancake syrup. Or snow cones!
Make sure your blueberries are completely defrosted before putting them to use.
Uses for frozen berries
When purchasing foods in bulk (especially fresh produce) it can be difficult to make sure you use all of it before its expiration date. Nobody wants to eat blueberries in literally every single dish, and freezing them allows you to prolong their lifespan so that you can use them over a longer period of time.
This blender at Amazon will make awesome smoothies.
Try using them in smoothies. Blueberries are terrific antioxidants, the vitamin C and vitamin A in them help to reduce the risk of cancer, inhibit tumor growth, and slow down inflammation. Taking these in your daily smoothies not only adds sweetness to your drink but keeps you in optimal shape. Plus they make every smoothie they’re in turn purple — no matter how much kale you have in there.
Mason jars for smoothies? I found the best ones.
Additional health benefits of blueberries
Blueberries also are great for improving mental health. They have properties in them that promote brain development in children. In adults, it has been shown to reduce risks of degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
Berries also promote healthy digestion. Since becoming an adult I have had to watch my eating habits, and one thing that I have noticed is that the foods I ingest directly affects my body’s waste removal capabilities. The fiber content found in blueberries helps your body maintain a healthy digestive tract.
Blueberries also have properties that fight the aging process, helping to keep wrinkles at bay. Upon learning this, I immediately upped my blueberry intake to no less than one cup per day. Collagen (the support system for your skin) is reliant on vitamin C as the nutrient to prevent damage in our skin due to outside sources like the sun. Because vitamin C is abundant in blueberries, they are a great tool for fighting wrinkles.
Wrap – up
Even the most ancient societies knew that blueberries are extraordinarily beneficial to our bodies. The Native Americans viewed the fruit as a gift from the “Great Spirits” during a famine so they could feed their children. Even they were looking for ways to preserve this fruit so they could eat them year round. The method they used was to dry them out. Luckily, we have technology that lets us keep them fresh and juicy for months at a time.
Sometimes it’s a smoothie morning. Sometimes it’s coffee.
I found the best burr coffee grinders here.
Image credit via Flickr Creative Commons: jm3